We refer to the polar ice cap biome as the regions of the planet covered by ice most of the year. This includes large portions of the arctic and antarctic.
Defining an Ice cap: A polar ice cap or polar ice sheet is a high-latitude region of a planet or moon that is covered in ice. This term is somewhat of a misnomer since an ice cap is less than 50,000 km² and is always over land: a larger area of ice is called an ice sheet. Polar ice caps do not have size, composition or geologic requirements of being over land, but they must be centered in the polar region.
Interesting Facts about Ice caps: Did you k now that there are ice caps on other planets? It's true! Mar's has polar ice caps but they are not composed of water ice. Instead they are a mixture of carbon dioxide and water ice.
How to Polar Ice Caps form? Polar ice caps form because high-latitude regions receive less energy in the form of solar radiation from the sun than equatorial regions. This results in lower surface temperatures. Seasonal variations of the ice caps will take place due to varied solar energy absorption as the planet or moon revolves around the sun. Additionally, in geologic time scale, the ice caps may grow or shrink due to climate variation. See ice age, polar climate.
What is the health of the ice? Both of the Earth's ice caps are currently shrinking, possibly as a result of anthropogenic global warming.
Here is a second short video about Global Ice Melt and the melting of the ice caps from CBS 11 news with an interview from Walt Meier at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The Northern Polar Ice Caps: Earth's north pole is covered by floating pack ice (sea ice) over the Arctic Ocean. Portions of the ice that don't melt seasonally can get very thick, up to 3–4 meters thick over large areas, with ridges up to 20 meters thick. One-year ice is usually about a meter thick. The area covered by sea ice ranges between 9 and 12 million km².
The Antarctic Ice Sheet: The land mass of the Earth's south pole, in Antarctica, is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet. It covers an area of almost 14 million km² and contains 30 million km³ of ice. Around 90% of the fresh water on the Earth's surface is held in this ice sheet. In addition, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet covers 3.2 million km² and the Ross Ice Shelf covers 0.5 million km².
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